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SpaceX aborts GPS satellite launch from Florida

SpaceX aborts GPS satellite launch from Florida
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is shown being prepared Friday for launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Photo by Joe Marino/UPI | License Photo

ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 2 (UPI) -- SpaceX scrubbed the launch of the U.S. military's latest model of Global Positioning System satellite from Florida on Friday night 2 seconds before the planned liftoff, just as the engine ignition sequence was beginning.

The satellite was to carried aloft aboard a Falcon 9 rocket at 9:43 p.m. EDT from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station -- the company's third GPS launch from that complex.

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With the aborted attempt, SpaceX will try again, possibly as early as Saturday at 9:39 p.m. EDT. The launch team first needed to evaluate the problem before committing to a rescheduled date.

SpaceX has experienced multiple delays sending the rocket into space due to weather and technical problems over the past two weeks.

The satellite, officially named GPS III Space Vehicle 4, is the fourth in the nation's third generation of GPS satellites. Such satellites were initially designed to aid the military, but also allow for such mapping applications as Google Maps and Uber.

After launch, the satellite built by Lockheed Martin was to join the operational constellation of 31 GPS satellites in orbit.

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The new generation brings three times better accuracy and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capability, according to the Space Force. The third generation of the satellites also are designed for service 25 percent longer -- or 15 years longer -- than the second generation.

Astronauts make round trip to space station from U.S. soil

NASA astronaut Douglas Hurley (C) waves to onlookers as he boards a plane at Naval Air Station Pensacola to return him and NASA astronaut Robert Behnken home to Houston a few hours after the duo landed in their SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft off the coast of Pensacola, Fla,, on August 2, 2020. Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA | License Photo

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